Kirk and Ed (from Yuma), mmm-yoso!!! writers, have been posting a lot about their recent vacations. Cathy has been out of California for a while also, though not primarily on a vacation. Here is a trip report of her 2016 adventure, including food.
It was not a vacation, nor was it planned. Starting out with a flurry of phone calls, while I was with cc,on another Rose Parade float road testas well asa fewother stops. The spur of the moment 2400+ mile, 37 hour drive was highlighted with a start and finish at the Las Vegas airport; meeting my nephew (who flew in to assist with the drive to Michigan) and dropping my brother off for a flight back.
We drove across the prairies and flatlands, through the Eisenhower Tunnel (the longest mountain tunnel and highest point on the US Highway system; the small green sign on the wall to the left in that photo indicates the Continental Divide).
Along the way, stopping for breaks at a variety of interesting and informative 'Rest Areas'. The last photo above is called an "Oasis"- each side has a fuel station and the walkover (over the Highway) and has a variety of fast food eateries, information stands (interestingly, popcorn concessions) and importantly, rest rooms. Other rest areas have vending machines (which take credit cards).
There are also combination Fuel/Travel Centers,Sapp Bros is one.
Known for the coffee pot/with percolator neon lighting on a small water tower symbol seen from the Highway, the coffee choices ('Awake', 'Smile' and 'Decaf') are always fresh and ready when you drop in. (Note the popcorn machine at the far left in the below photo).
This was the first location of a Maid Rite (there were more) on this trip.
Loose meat burger, delicate seasoning-not plain, not overpowering-steamed bun with the 'standard' toppings of chopped onion, mustard and pickles. Delightful, along with the ever traditional midwest snack, cheese curds (made with Iowa cheese, of course).
An even more popular Convenience Store chain that also sells fuel is...
Yes, you are reading it correctly. Kum & Go has been around since 1959 and this location was impressive.
That milk shake machine plays your selection of music while it is preparing the shake you choose from the ice cream selections in the freezer below.
Pick a beverage, a snack or...
Yes, there's beer on tap here, along with free samples and growlers. Those Midwesterners!
There were hotels, too, some with views, most others, not so much. But those with 'breakfast included' had pancake and waffle machines, along with many choices to make a tasty breakfast.
At the end of the drive home, I stopped in Barstow for one final fill up. It was that fateful Tuesday when the Bluecut fire began. The radio informed that the I-15 was closing in both directions as the fire had grown to 1000 acres.
Driving North two exits and taking the 247, through the Lucerne Valley
and into the San Bernadino National Forest, up to 7000 feet above sea level, on winding (10 mph on curves at some points), steep (10% grade, not the usual 6% grade) roads, then back down, to
Big Bear Lake after about two hours of driving, taking a break then driving another hour and a half to get back to the 210 freeway and home. An adventure across America, Summer 2016.
While Kirk and Cathy are doing important things like working or resting, Ed (from Yuma) is posting today.
Usually, after I've written a post on a place in Yuma, I don't visit again for a while, maybe feeling a little burned out. And when I do visit, I don't bring my camera. So when I had lunch at Crouse’s Flat Top Grill in early March I didn't have my camera with me, so I didn't take this picture of the entrance that day:
I ordered one of the sandwiches that I hadn't tried, the smoked brisket. When it arrived it looked something like this:
It was a great sandwich – a crunchy long roll filled with two thick smoky slices of brisket, crowned with abundant sweet grilled onion, and served with a choice of barbecue sauces on the side. Even the potato salad, which I had largely ignored before, was wonderful, the sour spicy crunchy pickle pieces adding true zest.
It was a meal so good that Tina and I have been eating at Flat Top Grill regularly, and of course I've been bringing my camera along.
Although the restaurant has a very modest wine list:
and a limited number of changing taps,
I can always find at least one or two interesting beers
On our most recent visit, Tina ordered an amazing watermelon, mint and jalapeño Margarita:
The rim of her glass was coated with Tajin, and that lime chili salt added one more level of complexity to the cocktail. Spicy, sweet, sour, cool, and smooth, with a touch of salt and a hint of mint. A real winner.
Since that last post, we have eaten a bunch of different things. For example, we were dining there with friends and they wanted to try the loaded JoJo's:
That could be somebody's dinner. The potatoes were nicely cooked and there’s bacon, cheese, and sour cream. Glad our friends had their teenage son with them.
Tina enjoys the tri-tip salad:
The fresh lettuces are nothing special, but the meat is well flavored and she loves the cilantro lime dressing that adds a Sonoran accent.
Of course, we often have sandwiches. Recently, Tina had the hot dog – split in half, grilled, placed atop a strip of bacon, and thickly covered with guacamole:
That same night, I had the guacamole bacon burger – we must have had guacamole on the brain:
In the last post, I complained about an overdone burger; this one was on the verge of under cooked, but the flavorful hamburger, ground on premises daily, had excellent flavor. And bacon and guacamole.
My favorite burger is the green chili burger:
8 years ago I posted about the mutant green chilies found in some Yuma Mexican restaurants, which are always made with beef, usually finely diced or ground. The green chili here is another variation on that theme. The beef is coarsely ground and is the focus of the dish. The chili has some good heat and green chili flavor. It is topped with melted cheese, pico de gallo, and chopped scallions (also with sour cream, but I ordered that on the side).
We have eaten several entrées as well. The Turkey dinner is an amazing combination of familiar and unusual:
On the left side of the plate, covered with gravy, was first rate red skinned mashed potatoes. The Turkey breast slices, like the ones on their turkey sandwiches, were grilled and pretty ordinary, but the waffle made with turkey dressing underneath was something I'd never seen before:
Kindof a Thanksgiving dinner like no other.
And yes, during evenings The Flat Top Grill does have good old-fashioned greens as a side dish. I'm talking serious greens, smoky and meaty:
A little less interesting – though still very flavorful – was the chicken with mushroom gravy. Two thick slices of grilled chicken breast rested on a bed of those mashed potatoes, all covered with delectably creamy mushroom gravy:
On a couple of weekend nights, we ordered specials not on the menu. Once it was the rib special:
Wonderfully spiced, deeply smoked, and fall off the bone tender. Though there is barbecue sauce on the side where it belongs, it really wasn't needed. We took the leftovers home and had biscuits, ribs, and eggs for breakfast. The corn was a little tough and flavorless, but I was still happy.
And if you are ever at Flat Top Grill and they are serving chicken and waffles, you should be eating chicken and waffles:
The waffle was crispy chewy and served with two different syrups, one maple and one spicy. The moist chicken was encased with a flavorful hard crust. Wonderful deep frying technique.
mmm-yoso!!! is a blog about food. Kirk is traveling today, Ed (from Yuma) is currently relaxing and Cathy is thinking about her future vacation while writing a short post.
A few weeks ago, The Mister and I were in East County and took the exit on Lake Jennings Park Road, driving past the abandoned amusement park, Marshal Scotty's (sometimes referred to as the East County Disneyland). Staying along the interstate on Olde Highway 80, passing Flinn Springs County Park, we spotted parking in front of Mary Etta's Cafe, which has been in this location since about 1935.
The small Cafe has both a high and low counter seating as well as five booths. The clientele is mostly locals.
There are specials on the white board on the far wall and the menu is uncomplicated. A cup of coffee is $2.35 and constantly refilled.
The chicken fried steak plate ($9.50) is a good choice. The breading on the meat is crispy, the sausage gravy is great. Those potatoes are so good; thinly mandolin sliced and crispy fried; not a hash brown nor a home fry.
You can order one, two or three eggs with a choice of meats with potato and toast. This two egg with a (house made!) sausage patty was my choice ($8.50). The eggs were a perfect over easy (runny orange yolks; the eggs are from a local ranch), that sausage is simply wonderful; proper spices, thick corse ground pork and fried to a light crust...and the potatoes: those are the same my mom and dad would make for us on the weekend (and also the same type as I had at the Original Tops in November 2014).
The choice of toast is only white or wheat, Mary Etta's isn't hipster; its a local, long time favorite. Hidden treasure.
Mary Etta's Cafe 14809 Olde Highway 80 El Cajon 92021 (619) 390-1973 Open 7 a.m.-2 p.m. daily
Thanks for once again stopping by to read mmm-yoso!!!, a blog about food. Kirk is dealing with some connectivity issues right now, Ed (from Yuma) is recovering from a short vacation (not in Yuma) and Cathy is connected and rested, so she is writing today.
It's an El Niño year out here in Southern California and a day can range from chilly-cold to rainy to windy to hot. It's kind of fun to never know what to expect when stepping out in the morning. A few weeks ago, The Mister and I stepped out and drove a short way to have breakfast.
Patty's opened on Lake Murray Boulevard in August 2012 in the Big Lots anchored mall, across the street from the Ross Dress for Less anchored mall, on the North side of La Mesa, about two doors down from Papa's Donuts.Neat and clean, the small restaurant offers a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, has whiteboard specials and opens at 7 a.m. every day. The Gyros Omelet, made with feta, tomato and onion and served with pita , sliced tomatoes and tzatziki sauce was a whiteboard special ($8) one weekday. (It is regularly $9.95) Thick and heavy, the flavors melded well and we had leftovers to bring home. Mariana's Special Sandwich ($9.95) is a sort of craving for me. A plain, toasted bagel with cream cheese, over easy egg, ham and bacon and served with home fries (or hash browns) seems to satisfy just about every early morning craving I have, all in one bite.
The gyros and chicken salad ($11.95) is very large and served with dressing and tzatziki sauce on the side, along with toasty warm pita bread. Both the gyros and chicken are flavorful and moist.
The 1/2 lb gyros burger ($8.95) is great and adding onion rings ($2.95) makes this a meal for two. A thick patty, lightly char grilled and topped with all the gyros made each bite enjoyable. The onion rings were thick and fried properly.
We'll be back for more meals at this great neighborhood Cafe.
Patty's Cafe 6155 Lake Murray Boulevard La Mesa, CA 91942 (619)462-1922 Website Open Mon-Sat 7-9, Sun 7-3
mmm-yoso!!! is a food blog with contributions about food consumed from various places under various circumstances. Kirk and Ed(from Yuma) are relaxing today. Cathy is writing about her circumstances.
Yes, it is that time of year again. The President, Theme (Echoes of Success), Marching Bands and some float designs for the 128th Tournament of Roses parade were announced not long after the 126th Parade ended on January 1, 2016. Floats are in the beginning stages of being built and a "T-1" (first float road test of mechanics and maneuverability) of floats built by Phoenix Decorating Company (who built 22 of the 44 floats in the 2016 parade) was held on Saturday morning at 7 a.m.
Listening to traffic reports, an accident had the North 5 with all lanes closed, so The Mister and I left home before 5 a.m. and stopped at Tan Hoang Huong (THH) in Tustin, since we were there before 6 a.m. (when Cream Pan (our usual stop) opens). Located just West (under the 5) of Cream Pan, it is good place to grab a sandwich and other treats. I knew about it because of several posts on CC's blog.
We ordered two egg rolls (@65¢) and a pork pate chaud (85¢) to eat while we waited for our bahn mi to be prepared. Yes, that's a 'spam' and egg sandwich ($4.25).
Fresh items, great tasting. Not the same as K Sandwiches, but very good. THH 14081 Newport Ave Tustin, CA (714)731-1366 Open Mon-Sat 5 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Sun 7 am-4 pm website
We detoured around the accident (which blocked the North 5 for more than six hours) and arrived at the Road Test just after 7 a.m.
Raymond Street is the place. The floats were lined up. The Rotary International float is in a very basic stage. You can see exactly where the driver and spotter are seated. They are communicating via headsets, as they will during the parade. The spotter on the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs float is the lady to the left in the photo. She will be seated below the floor of that gazebo-like structure. The Kiwanis float is taking shape. The City of Alhambra float has a fire engine being driven by both a fireman and a fire dog... Lions Clubs International is celebrating 100 years of Service in 2017. I can tell this float will be even more magnificent once it is decorated.
There were more details, but you get the idea. We were off to our next stop, Copenhagen Pastry (again, I knew about it from CC's blog), located East on Colorado Boulevard. The truck (and a few cars) parked in front of the otherwise quiet street made the subtle storefront easy to find. The fresh selections were so tempting- yes, that's about everything offered- We bought a loaf of Rye bread ($6) the dense, chewy style, made with rye berries, sunflower and black flax seeds, a Spandauer ($1.95) flaky pastry topped with almond paste and custard and a slice of Kringle ($1.95) also filled with almond paste, custard and sugar. We will return.
We began heading home, stopped at a Super H-Mart for some items and then hit another accident prone area of the 91 freeway, exited and decided to stop at Burger Basket, which we have driven past during prior sidesteps from traffic. Order, pay, have a seat...watch the char grill happen. A double cheese burger- (charred to perfection)($5.49) Gosh, I haven't had such a great burger since Sima's. My semi-usual morning order of an egg sandwich with sausage ($5.89). Let me say, this was heavy and huge with unexpectedly large tasty breakfast sausages (skin slightly burned), a lot of egg and lettuce with tomato and mayonnaise. Burger Basket has been at this location since at least 2007 and again, wish we had stopped here sooner. We will be back.
Burger Basket 1058 West Sixth Corona, CA 92882 (951) 734-1331 Open 7 days 6:30-9:30 Website
It was a long morning and we were home before noon. I hope you are having a good weekend!
Thanks for dropping by to read the food blog, mmm-yoso!!! Kirk is unable to get near a computer right now, as is Ed(from Yuma). Cathy is available and has something food-related to write about.
More than once, I have heard about cities like El Cajon, Santee and La Mesa being located 'all the way out in East County' and too far to drive to, even for good food. In return, I have told people to look at a map of San Diego County so they could realize the size and the real center of our County.
Heading East on the 8 Interstate freeway, past Alpine are signs indicating you have entered the Cleveland National Forest, a 460,000 acre wilderness environment within urban boundaries.
Taking the Highway 79 exit and driving North for about 1.5 miles, you will see a few businesses and on the left-Descanso Junction Restaurant. The corner land and building was originally a gas station (in 1920) and in 2004, Descanso Junction Restaurant opened. Stepping inside, the decor (memorabilia of motorcyles, horses and the West) is comfortable and reminiscent of the past. There are many 'regulars' eating and meeting here.
The menu is rather extensive and there are also chalkboard specials (hanging in the Saloon area when you walk in).
Since I've only met clients here for lunch (and they were paying, so I ordered a quesadilla
/whiteboard special), the breakfast menu was overwhelming (in a good way, with my being undecided for a while). I opted to try something more or less 'traditional'-the Country Scramble ($8.99)- scrambled eggs with homemade biscuits, homemade gravy and (really good, thick, skin on) breakfast sausage. Yes, I realize the gravy with country fried steak with this same gravy will probably be my choice next time.
The Mister chose to ignore traditional breakfast choices and instead, the Smoked Bourbon Tri-Tip with eggs ($11.99). Wow! The meat was perfect (medium rare, which he requested), the smoked Bourbon flavor was so good and new taste point for me, the over easy eggs had those yummy orange yolks and those home fries were really really great!
Check out the menu and Monday-Friday specials listed; in case you might want to eat on the way home after enjoying a staycation within the country that doesn't involve the ocean. There is a lot to see and do in San Diego.
Descanso Junction Restaurant 8306 Highway 79 Descanso, CA 91916 Open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. daily Website
Thanks for dropping by to read mmm-yoso!!! Kirk and Ed (from Yuma) have been posting a lot lately and even though Cathy hasn't posted, she has been eating. Today's post is one of her eating adventures.
This year is slipping by; more than 1/3 is over and I'm still referring to '2015' on some documents. Work has been busy and visiting with friends and family has occurred. The other morning, after a quick stop at San Diego International Airport, The Mister and I stuck around the Balboa Park area and stopped at a place we each had passed many times. It was a time for us to enjoy some well deserved rest.
Extraordinary Desserts has been open at this location in the Bankers Hill area of San Diego (a block West of Balboa Park) since 2005 about 1994 and has had a storefront in Little Italy since 2006. Karen Krasne, a San Diego native and Cordon Bleu trained pastry chef, was honored with multiple awards for her skills long before her storefronts were in existence (1988).
Walking into the store, though the outdoor seating area, begins the visual stimulation. There are some condiments available for purchase, as well as whole cakes. Walking toward the cashier, there are three main areas to choose individual servings of pastries available that day. (The third area is on a shelf behind the open counter). There is also a small menu of coffee and other hot beverages to choose from.
You order, pay and have a seat and the preparation of beverages and plating occurs. Then your order is brought out.This wonderful slice of blood orange ricotta cake ($9.50) was quite filling and the plating included gold flecked orange slices, a mango-raspberry puree and edible rose petals. The ricotta cake is soaked in blood orange juice so is very moist and flavorful on its own. The whipped cream frosting is also made with blood orange juice. Cranberries and raspberries are part of the frosting that is between layers. This is so good.
This Blackberry and blueberry scone ($3.95) was warmed before the simple decorations of rose petals and powdered sugar topped it. It was a flaky layered, buttery rich pastry, not too sweet and complimented by the fresh berries. Quite large and an excellent scone.
Open late as well as early, this is great, locally owned place.
Extraordinary Desserts 2929 Fifth Avenue San Diego, CA 92103 Website Open Mon-Thurs 8:30 a.m.-11:00p.m. Fri 8:30 a.m.-midnight Sat 10 a.m.-midnight Sun 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Some photos that have been languishing around for a while....it's time to C(lear) O(ut the) M(emory) C(ard).
Brunch at Tiger! Tiger!:
We'd kind of avoided brunch here as the menu seemed uninspiring. After returning from our last trip, we'd been working hard, so decided to just relax and see how the brunch was here. We were pleasantly surprised. Especially by the wood fired potatoes with the guajillo aioli.
Tiger! Tiger! 3025 El Cajon Blvd San Diego, CA 92104
"YZ" had completed a big project, so we decided to go out and grab lunch. We hadn't been to Chef Chin in a while. It was an ok lunch. The best item by far was the Xun Yu, the Jellyfish Head with Chicken the worst.
Chef Chin 4433 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
Carnitas' Snack Shack:
It had been over a year since we last visited and the Missus wanted a snack.....and this is Carnitas' Snack Shack, right? We shared the pulled pork hash, which was delish....the fries were much too salty though.
Carnitas' Snack Shack 2632 University Avenue San Diego, CA 92104
Aaaah, there you go....my memory card is a bit lighter now!
Here you are, back at mmm-yoso!!!, looking for someplace new, different or just to see if Kirk or Ed (from Yuma) or Cathy go to the same places as you. Today's post is written by Cathy.
In between rainy and windy days, there tend to be some really beautiful ones interspersed here in San Diego County. Driving East on El Cajon Boulevard one of those days, we noticed the signage above the building as well as a sandwich board on the sidewalk. You know we had to stop.Curious about the idea of having to go though the Winery door to get to the coffee shop area, we walked in and looked to the right, where the sunlight was streaming in through the open roll up wall door; because it is being constructed to be a pre-order and drive up spot.
Back inside, there is a walk up sort of grab and go case of pastries, pre-made sandwiches, salads and bottled/canned beverages. But there is also a small menu of foods as well as beverages (hot, cold, smoothies). The coffees are from both Lavazza and Bird Rock.We decided to try an iced coffee (the cold brew was not ready) which is kept cold with coffee ice cubes (you have no idea how much I appreciate non-diluting chilling methods). There are so many 'Specialty' drinks offered here, a few seen on this blog post by cc, from September. The Mister decided to try a 'Kale Superfood Salad' ($7.95) (add rotisserie chicken $3.50). The bowl it was served in was quite large and deep. We shared and this was great, quite enough food.The only person working that day was the owner and we overheard him talking to some 'regulars' about a Special for $6 and decided to order it. Thick slices of cucumber, toped with a thick layer of goat cheese, topped with a nicely sweet/spicy chutney (there was ginger in it) and drizzled with honey. Simple, yet a flavor combination I never considered. We have since purchased several chutneys at Trader Joe's and enjoyed a similar snack at home.
Grinds and Vine Coffee Bar 2419 El Cajon Blvd San Diego 92104 (Between Texas Street and Arizona Street) (619) 512-2423 Website Closed Mondays. Tue and Wed 6:30 am - 3:00 pm. Thur and Fri 6:30 am - 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm. Sat 7:30 am - 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm. Sun 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
This is mmm-yoso!!!, a food blog. Kirk (and his Missus) are on vacation. Ed (from Yuma) (and Tina) have also been on vacation. Cathy (and her Mister) have been staying in the County and eating food after taking photos of it. She is posting today.
In April of 2015, Howard's Lemon Grove Deli & Grill was sold to a new family after many decades as a mainstay on Broadway Avenue. The new owners are a very nice Italian family, who have made a few cosmetic improvements to the interior and tweaked the menu.
The exterior is pretty much the same. You can walk in and find a seat or stand and order items 'To Go'. The menu is on the back wall.The corned beef hash and eggs ($8.99) is always a good choice. Two eggs, a choice of home fries or hash browns, and a choice of toast, biscuit and gravy or pancakes are al part of the meal. The corned beef hash is very good and not too salty.Two visits, I've ordered each of the breakfast sandwiches on the menu. Both with rye toast. The top photo is the "Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich" ($7.75)- scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon, ham, sausage, mushrooms, bell pepper and avocado. Hearty and good.
The bottom photo (directly above) is the simpler "Breakfast Sandwich" ($5.75)- Scrambled eggs, cheese (you have a choice of cheeses) and ham or bacon or sausage. Bacon in this case. Unfortunately the Eggs Benedict is no longer on the menu, but a "Grilled Bone In Ham Steak" with eggs ($9.75) is. The Benedict and its sauce was very good when we ordered it. The home fries are the same as in this photo. Since there is an easy way to order online, I've done it a few times. The "Famous Pastrami" ($8.50) is large enough for two. The bread is grilled, there's a choice of cheese and a choice of ingredients. 8 ounces of meat. Really good sandwiches here.
Its great that the Roberto family has kept this East County institution going.
Lemon Grove Deli & Grill 7860 Broadway Lemon Grove CA 91945 (619)464-2928 Website Open daily at 7 a.m Closes at 4 p.m. Mon-Thurs and Sat; closes at 5 on Fri; closes at 2 on Sun Website